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Thursday, April 7, 2011

CharPo's Picture of the Week, April 7, 2011

Cowboy Mouth, l-r, Kathy Daehler, Aaron Turner and Owen Clarke 
(Photo credit: Jeremy Bobrow)
From the press kit:
Montreal, March 2011 – After a successful run of Amiel Gladstone’s Hippies and Bolsheviks in 2009, Girl Got Lost Productions and director Chelsea McIsaac are excited to present an exuberant interpretation of one of the earlier plays written by North America’s most prolific playwright, Sam Shepard, with his girlfriend at the time, high priestess of poetry/punk/rock, Patti Smith.Cowboy Mouth will be performed at Espace 4001 (4001 Berri) from April 20 to April 30.

Set in small town nowhere, Cowboy Mouth explores the human desire to be famous. Through the characters of Cavale, Slim and Lobster Man, we understand there is always a price to pay when it comes to chasing one’s dreams. Who do we leave behind and what happens to us along the way? How far will we go to become the next great ‘Rock Star’? In this one act play with original music, clowns and taxidermy, you're no one until you have a hit record.

Written in 1971 when the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were kings, the subject is as current as ever. The desire in struggling musicians to make it to the next level, to be adored by millions, to be heard, is universal. Confirms McIsaac, “We only have to go as far as our living rooms to watch this in practice as American Idol is now in it’s tenth season and shows no signs of slowing down.”

In today’s world of reality television, tell-all blogs and social networking sites that allow individuals to expose themselves on a minute-to-minute basis, never has there been a time when being famous was more like a job. A job that requires bearing all, consistently has new applicants lining up and caters to a public that consumes fame with a voracious appetite not seen since Beatlemania. As a talent agent who represents some of Montreal’s most accomplished actors at Glenn Talent Management, McIsaac knows first-hand about a performer’s hunger for success.

With production director Heidi Hawkins, McIsaac reinterprets Cowboy Mouth, exploring the text filtered through the notion of ‘Generation Me’, a term coined by psychology professor Dr. Jean Twenge in her 2006 book of the same name. Twenge’s Generation Me is an in-depth study into today’s youth and why they are “more confident, assertive, entitled, and more miserable then ever before”. Twenge’s ideas of youth confidence and entitlement lend themselves well to the story of blindly running after the intangible idea of fame and the misery of always being two steps behind it.

While re-reading Cowboy Mouth after eighteen years, Ms McIsaac discovered, “I was moved by the characters need to become someone; it seemed all their self esteem was wrapped up in that. I was drawn to exposing their emotional journey- the desperation to be famous and the prospect of not making it”.

Because of Sheppard and Smith’s emotionally driven, poetry-like prose, Ms McIsaac has chosen to explore this world with hyper-realized characterizations. By turning Slim and Cavale into clowns, the result is a beautiful though sometimes dark peek into one man’s head. Not for the faint-hearted, Cowboy Mouth contains strong language. 

As with the previous production, McIsaac has assembled an outstanding cast to bring her vision to life. Aaron Turner (as Lobster Man), last seen as Henry V in Persephone Productions’ Henry VOwen Clark (as Slim), a recent graduate of Concordia University’s theatre department, also seen in Henry V and Kathy Daehler (as Cavale), one of Montreal’s best known cabaret clowns and a founding member of the Mask On! crew.

Featuring sound design and original music by Tom Mullins (Music for Arts Projects), lighting design by David-Alexandre Chabot, photography by Jeremy Bobrow and costumes and set by Chelsea McIsaac.

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